Today’s Key Takeaways: Biden calls energy crisis “incredible transition.” Exxon to face climate change lawsuit in MA. Ancient mine in WY used by humans to produce red ocher 13,000 years ago. HI boasts most solar per person. Vegas bets on liquid hydrogen.
NEWS OF THE DAY:
Chart: Which 12 US cities outshine the rest in solar energy?
Maria Virginia Olano, Canary Media, May 20, 2022
There is now more solar power capacity in nine U.S. cities than there was in the entire country a decade ago, according to Environment America’s new Shining Cities report. It ranks U.S. cities in terms of both overall installed solar and per capita capacity.
The list is more geographically diverse than you might expect; though three of the cities are in California, the others are spread across the country. With 650 megawatts, Los Angeles has the most installed solar capacity, followed by San Diego and Las Vegas.
But the city with by far the most solar per person is Honolulu, Hawaii. As Canary’s Julian Spector has reported, Hawaii’s rooftop solar industry boomed early as an economic alternative to expensive fossil-fueled electricity. Now households in Honolulu can earn money for sharing their solar production with the grid.
Exxon must face Massachusetts climate change lawsuit, court rules
Nate Raymond, Reuters, May 24, 2022
Massachusetts’ high court on Tuesday rejected Exxon Mobil Corp’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit by the state’s attorney general accusing the oil company of misleading consumers and investors about climate change and the dangers of using fossil fuels.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a state law that protects defendants from lawsuits seeking to intimidate them into silence did not bar Attorney General Maura Healey from pursuing what Exxon calls a politically motivated case.
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
AIR LIQUIDE OPENS NEVADA HYDROGEN PLANT: French industrial gas giant Air Liquide announced today it has inaugurated its new liquid hydrogen production facility near Las Vegas.
The facility will produce 30 metric tons of hydrogen per day and has enough capacity to produce hydrogen for over 40,000 fuel cell vehicles in California in compliance with the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, according to the company. Its operations will also be powered by renewable energy.
Americas ‘oldest mine now identified
Valentina Ruiz Leotaud, Mining.Com, May 22, 2022
Recent archaeological excavations have confirmed that an ancient mine in eastern Wyoming was used by humans to produce red ocher beginning nearly 13,000 years ago.
According to the researchers behind the discovery, this makes the Powars II site at Sunrise in Platte County the oldest documented red ocher mine—and likely the oldest known mine of any sort—in all the Americas.
The excavations confirmed theories advanced by famed University of Wyoming archaeologist George Frison, which stem from research he began at the site in 1986.
“We have unequivocal evidence for use of this site by early Paleoindians as long as 12,840 years ago and continuing by early Americans for about 1,000 years,” Spencer Pelton, lead author of the paper that documents these findings, said in a media statement.
“It’s gratifying that we were finally able to confirm the significance of the Powars II site after decades of work by so many, including Dr. Frison, who learned of the site in the early 1980s and was involved in the research until his death.”
Red ocher, also known as hematite, fulfilled a wide range of functions in Paleoindian societies, including as a pigment in rituals. It has been found at ancient graves, caches, campsites and kill sites in the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains and beyond. The Powars II site is the only red ocher quarry identified in the North American archaeological record north of southern Mexico—and one of only five such quarries identified in all of the Americas.
Among the artifacts previously discovered at the Powars II site are Clovis points—believed to be from the first inhabitants of North America—along with other projectile points, tools, and shell beads.
Ocher was likely exported
The 2017-2020 excavation led by Pelton—a 6- by 1-meter trench bisecting a previously undocumented quarry feature—yielded several thousand more Paleoindian artifacts, along with many well-preserved animal bones and antlers, the latter used to extract the red ocher in the quarry.
The projectile points come from numerous locations in the region, including from as far away as the Edwards Plateau in Texas. That makes it likely that the red ocher found at archaeological sites throughout the American midcontinent came from the Powars II quarry.
“Beyond its status as a quarry, the Powars II artifact assemblage is itself one of the densest and most diverse of any thus far discovered in the early Paleoindian record of the Americas,” Pelton said.
The researcher and his colleagues said the evidence discovered so far indicates the quarry was used in two primary periods. During the first, dating to as long as 12,840 years ago and lasting several hundred years, people not only quarried red ocher—using bones and antlers as tools—but also produced and repaired weapons, along with other activities. After a hiatus of a century or more, the site was occupied by humans who mined red ocher and deposited artifacts in piles in a quarry pit.
“Further excavation of the estimated 800-square-meter remainder of the site will certainly reveal complexity not captured by our sample,” the scientists said.
Biden Calls Energy Crisis “Incredible Transition”
Charles Kennedy, OilPrice.Com, May 24, 2022
- Biden: High gasoline prices are part of an incredible transition away from oil and gas.
- The average gasoline price in the U.S. reached $4.596 per gallon at the start of this week.
- Soaring diesel prices could send inflation even higher in the second half of 2022.
President Biden came under fire from fellow politicians this week after he called the record-high retail fuel prices in the U.S. part of “an incredible transition” away from oil and gas.
“Here’s the situation. And when it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger, and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over,” Biden said during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
The President’s remarks come as the average gasoline price in the U.S. reached $4.596 per gallon at the start of this week, with diesel prices at $5.554 per gallon despite the planned massive release of crude oil from the strategic petroleum reserve and new plans for the release of diesel from federal reserves as well.
“And what I’ve been able to do to keep it from getting even worse — and it’s bad. The price of gas at the pump is something that I told you — you heard me say before — it would be a matter of great discussion at my kitchen table when I was a kid growing up. It’s affecting a lot of families,” Biden also said.
“But we have released over two hundred and, I think, fifty-seven thousand — million barrels of oil, I should say. Us and the rest of the world we convinced to get involved. It’s helped, but it’s not been enough,” the U.S. President added.
Although gasoline prices are putting pressure on households, some experts are more concerned about diesel prices, which help keep inflation higher by adding to the transportation costs of most goods shipped and sold across the U.S. In the East Coast, according to the WSJ, diesel fuel supplies are at the lowest since 1990 at least.